Four people were killed in protests turned violent in Niger on Friday, after French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published more cartoon images of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) a week after gunmen shot dead 12 people at its offices in Paris.
The Niger government said four were killed as police clashed with a crowd that attacked a French cultural centre and set churches ablaze.
Protesters in the West African country’s second-largest city of Zinder in the south set French flags ablaze, while police responded with tear gas.
Three civilians died, including two who were shot by police during an attack on their station, interior minister Hassoumi Massaoudou claimed on state television.
A police officer was run over and killed, while 45 other people sustained injuries.
Charlie Hebdo’s first edition since the attack, published on Wednesday, featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) on a cover that defenders praised as art but critics and the Muslim world saw as a new provocation.
Protests also erupted in Pakistan and Algeria resulting in several injuries. Elsewhere, peaceful marches were held after Friday prayers in the capital cities of former French colonies Mali, Senegal and Mauritania.
In Pakistan, police fired tear gas and water cannon at about 200 protesters outside the French consulate in the southern port city of Karachi.
In Algeria, police clashed with demonstrators in Algiers after rioting broke out at the end of a protest against the publication of the French cartoons. Several officers were injured as small groups of protesters hurled rocks, fireworks and bottles at security forces around the waterfront area of the Algerian capital.
The presidents of Niger, Mali and Senegal last week marched alongside more than a million French citizens to show solidarity with the victims of the Paris bloodshed, which began with a shooting attack on Charlie Hebdo’s Paris office.
But in an indication of the shifting mood, Macky Sall, president of one of Africa’s most stable democracies Senegal, said late on Thursday: “Freedom of the press should not, in our view, head in the direction of a totally pointless provocation.”